Litigation Works! June 15, 2011

Litigation Works!

After the Louisiana House voted unanimously to erect a 10 Commandments monument at the State Capitol building, a state Senate committee voted 5-2 to table the bill (effectively defeating it). Yay!

And why did they oppose it?

Some members of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee expressed concerns that House Bill 277 would lead to litigation.

“These are tight times. I’d rather spend money on services than litigation,” said state Sen. Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport.

The bill stipulated that private entities would cover the monument’s cost — but included no provision for who would cover a lawsuit’s costs.

“It’s going to walk us right into litigation,” said Sen. Rob Marionneaux, D-Livonia, a lawyer.

Damn right it would.

The 10 Commandments aren’t taken seriously by the law. Only a couple commandments are punishable in America and they’re common sense rules (No Stealing, No Killing). There’s no reason to put this monument up other than to push Christianity on everybody else.

The Senate committee made the right move by dismissing this Christian bill altogether. It would’ve been nice if they said it was pushing religion instead of citing fear of litigation, but at least they voted the right way.

(Thanks to Jim for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Money vs. Religion – “god money” wins hands down, always. Though I wonder what would’ve happened had this been in play 5 years ago…? I bet they woulda spent god money freely then, huh? And damn the services…

  • Claudia

    It’s sad that they have so little respect for the Constitution (a document I’m not seeing them jump to put on display) that no one seems to be willing to make the Constitutional argument against this stuff.

    I too wish litigation weren’t neccesary, but here we see why it’s worthwhile. Every time they pull this stuff, you sue. Eventually, people realize that these stunts will result in a loss of money and none of the grandstanding piety they wanted and stop trying. Eventually, the very thought of doing something like this won’t even cross their minds, and no one will remember that it was because some people made a legal issue of it, every time.

  • Anonymous

    “I too wish litigation weren’t neccesary, but here we see why it’s worthwhile”

    Hey, it’s one of the three branches of government. It’s there for a reason.

  • Tom

    Disheartening that their reasoning wasn’t “we want to do the right thing” so much as “we don’t want to get sued by people who want to do the right thing.” It speaks volumes about how money has utterly displaced almost all other goals and motivations in this crass, shallow thing we call modern western society.

    But it does indeed spell out out what we need to do. If the people in power won’t do the right thing on principle, but they do fear costly litigation, then we need to get expensive on their asses.

  • Terry

    My favorite saying:

    “The first commandment violates the first ammendment.”

    There shall be no god except God? F’off… this is America!

  • qwertyuiop

    The reason should have been “because it’s illegal” not “because we don’t want to be sued”.

  • Hey Hemant:

    I’ve noticed this before and let it slide, but if you’re going to repeat the error perhaps it should be called to your attention.

    With regard to the overlap between the law and the 10 Commandments, you have previously (and again in this post) asserted that only “a couple of them” are culpable offenses (stealing and killing).

    First, and the least of my objections, is that killing is not always wrong: Self-defense, defense of another, and on the field of battle are all examples of perfectly legitimate killing. In point of legal fact, if the ship we are on sinks and you have the only life jacket, it is not a “wrongful killing” if I strangle you to get it.

    The foregoing is a minor quibble and rather a bit of nitpicking – here’s the major one:

    “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

    Last I checked, perjury was a crime with potentially very serious consequences. So, if we’re going to dismiss the Commandments, let’s at least do so accurately: Stealing, killing and lying under oath are keepers…the rest is so much theistic gobbledegook.

  • PhiloKGB

    A common apologist Commandment interpretation holds that the sixth is properly translated as “You shall not murder” (with murder being a Biblical, rather than civil, category), and that this covers all the obvious exemptions.

    Perjury is indeed a serious crime; it is also exceedingly hard to prove and quite rarely charged (libel and slander are also in this category and are, if anything, even more rarely prosecuted). While it’s true that “You shall not kill” is enshrined in a legalistic sense, I don’t have much problem disregarding it when it’s inapplicable in 99% of instances.

  • Libel and slander, at least in the common law, are torts – civil actions – as opposed to criminal charges.
    Perjury is one of those things that occurs, quite literally, in every trial. It has been said, with equal parts sarcasm and accuracy, that the surest sign one is about to hear a string of absolute crap are the words, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
    “I do.”
    As a matter of practical administration, charges of perjury are generally only pursued when there is an attempt to subvert the course of justice by knowingly offering false testimony or evidence to the court. By way of example, an accused who testifies, “I didn’t do it,” is not charged additionally with perjury – the courts would grind to a halt under the case load. Conversely, divorce / custody matters are commonly the source of most perjury charges (if you ever want to study people doing truly stupid, evil shit get involved in Family Law).
    There is also a factor seemingly related to a rather vague degree of obligation to not knowingly offer false testimony under oath. While everyone swears to tell the truth, it is considered a more serious breach when an officer of the court lies. Thus, after parties to a divorce action, police officers and lawyers are the next most likely group to face charges of perjury. Experienced counsel, if they’re honest, will tell you that cops should lead the field by a wide margin. As regards lawyers, while members of the criminal defense bar are often considered the least ethical, one more commonly finds the most serious transgressions on the other side of the aisle.

  • seasicksquid

    I’ve worked with Senator Marionneaux in my previous job lobbying, and he really is a good guy…he’s very clear minded in making decisions and listens to logic. Unlike about 90% of Louisiana politicians.

  • Mark O’Leary

    No getting around it–four of the ten commandments are unconstitutional. Why do these “Americans” have such a blind spot about it?

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